Our goal in Musical Connections is to form relationships that allow for musical engagement of all who participate: the staff and residents of the participating venue, the artists who make up your roster, and the staff of the presenting organization. We call this responsive programming because each event—from a single performance to a long-term project—is tailored to respond to the needs of the partner venue and its residents as well as to the capabilities and interests of the artists and the presenter’s staff.
The needs and capacities of your partner venues and the scope of your own resources will determine what kinds of programs work best. There is no one-size-fits-all community program. Regardless of their size and scope, however, all successful community work embodies certain principles:
Artists, staff, leaders at partner venues, and participants are all invited to join in the collaborative work that is Musical Connections and are all affected by it. Watch their testimonies here.
Musical programming of this kind can take many forms and generally takes place in settings that are far from typical concert halls. The projects with the best outcomes are those that are appropriate to the venue and that carefully consider the circumstances and capabilities of the residents.
How do you create a program that relates to your audience? Musical Connections artist Camille Zamora shares one idea.
There is no performance stage and no backstage at a Musical Connections event. Rather, there is an interactive performance experience that begins when artists arrive and doesn't end until they leave the building.
A Musical Connections program isn't over until its strengths and weaknesses have been evaluated and documented by all involved: the artists and other members of the presenting team, the participating venue, and, if possible, outside consultants.
How do you forge partnerships with the government agencies and social service providers in your locale? If you are to implement this kind of community work, partnering with these kinds of external organizations is vital.
Successful community work begins with careful selection of host venues, weighing not just how the venue will benefit from Musical Connections, but how each partnership can contribute to the evolution of your community work. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a partner venue:
Musical Connections performances help to take care of the caretakers; they affect venue staff as well as those sitting in the audience.
Lead support is provided by the Brooke Astor One-Year Fund for New York City Education.
Major funding for Musical Connections is provided by MetLife Foundation and the Heineman Foundation for Research, Education, Charitable, and Scientific Purposes.
Additional support has been provided, in part, by Ameriprise Financial.
Public support for Musical Connections is provided by the New York City Departments of Homeless Services and Probation, and by the New York City Council.
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